Chronology of a Chastened Politician

Here’s President Obama, speaking in Roanoke, Virginia, on Friday, July 13:

I’m always struck by people who think, “Well, it must be because I was just so smart.”  There are a lot of smart people out there!  “It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.”  Let me tell you something: There are a whole bunch of hard workin’ people out there!

And (via Instapundit) here’s President Obama, speaking in California, on Monday, July 23:

I believe with all my heart that it is the drive and the ingenuity of Americans who start businesses that lead to their success.  I always have and I always will. The ability for somebody who’s willing to work hard, put in their sweat and their sacrifice to turn their idea into a profitable business, that’s the nature of America.

Trying to combine the two statements into a coherent perspective leaves me tempted to suggest that the missing part of the first speech was that the “whole bunch” of smart, hard-working people who didn’t succeed, per the president, must have lacked drive and ingenuity.  (Perhaps in academia or the bureaucracy.)

One suspects that the controversy would have been greatly mitigated, if not erased, had the message of the Friday the 13th speech been, “Beyond the intelligence and work ethic that so many Americans display, it is the drive and ingenuity of entrepreneurs that allows them to turn our shared society and infrastructure into revolutionary and profitable enterprises.”

Of course, then there’s the part of the first speech where Obama talks about successful business owners’ not having created “this unbelievable American system that allowed you to thrive.”  Or (more important) his vilifying, mocking, divisive tone.

It’s more likely that President Obama simply stated his opinion too bluntly in the first case and, chastened over the following week, has backpedaled to the focus-group-tested phrases to which people who share that opinion resort when their words might be broadly publicized.

  • Michael Kennedy

    He should never have given that speech on Friday, the 13th !

  • Rich K

    Ya, F13 is a killer date for a reason and he flew right into that fast freight full of stupid with the pedal to the metal.What an Idiot, what a maroon.

  • "Or (more important) his vilifying, mocking, divisive tone."

  • "Or (more important) his vilifying, mocking, divisive tone."

    That's how you know what he really meant.

  • BO

    I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.
    I believe we should cut the deficit and cut spending.
    I believe $4T in debt is unpatriotic and irresponsible.
    I believe in bi-partisanship and working across the aisle.

    I believe you people are idiots if you believe anything I say.

  • Streetracer


    I agree with you. However, #4 won't work when the Senate won't even discuss, never mind vote on, bills passed by the House.

  • Michael Kinsley

    It's a Kinsleyan gaffe, not stupidity.
    Even the smartest person has the occasional unguarded moment when the truth slips out.
    As for whether liberalism, authoritarianism, Keynesianism, and command economies are a sign of stupidity … I believe we can all make our own intelligent observations on the way the economy is going.

  • Somebody said, "A gaffe is when a politician is caught telling the truth."

  • John Blake

    This hateful little poseur ain't gonna wriggle outta this one.

  • ACS

    I’ve spent years working in government – Federal (U.S. Army), County, Municipal – and private business. I’ve learned from experience that 70-80% of the work is done by the same 20-30% of the people (more like 90-10% in government). Obama reminds me of those idle sluggards who sit in their cubicles all day and surf the Internet while they curse the “unfairness” that the fellow next door who worked his ass off happened to get a promotion or small bonus.